Pantoum for Willapa Bay

Butter, oysters, pepper & salt
all it takes to make a soup
thick around the bight of heaven
with particles of swoop and fleck

Out along the farthest dock
butter, oysters, pepper and salt
indigent & phosphorescent
thick around the bight of heaven

A diesel engine thooms on and on
out beyond the farthest dock
loosening the rivets on the bridge
indigent & phosphorescent

Circles fighting other circles
a diesel engine thooms on and on
spicules waving long & slender
loosening the rivets on the bridge

Muscle & mold of a continent
butter, oysters, pepper and salt
by a covetous river called the Bone
thick around the bight of heaven

Facing In

The fish in the closet
are wandering

Diamonds have become used to
force feeding

No wonder the stadiums
are turning inside out

I wish to learn how to swallow
this morning blindness

Ghazal for an Oilfield Town

Where are the actors, the dreams, the scripts, the stages of this town?
The desires, the mortal fears, the unread pages of this town?

I cannot see where sorrow dissolves and love enters the room
It seems that love is a subtle set of cages in this town

As methane gas is the lightest fraction when crude oil is cracked
So astronauts watch a cup of night set blazing in this town

I’ll go home the way I came, in a worn out truck I barely own
and try to scrub off the tin can grief and crazy of this town

Seed Pod

The troops are sweating
the people for cover

Elisions, drought, moving vehicles
are all places to shoot from

Inside the souk you can still find
seeds and good company

draped in the  scent of evening
under a widow’s garden of fossil light

Bargaining with god is what makes you sick
In the orchestra pit, everyone’s head tilting to the side

like cormorants, listening for what comes next
A beggar’s sign by the roadside: Make me leave you alone

Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Florida
at age sixty four, without a shark cage, on the fifth try

Like a seed pod off the coast
drifting, swelling, nearly bursting

On Juarez Road

Someone is poisoning crows
They are dropping on the road’s
rough hide near my house

Their faces move
in leaves of slate
like an absent father

Somewhere a car salesman
lies in shrink wrap
Ants have left the door open

Rain goes back up
into the sky
in aluminum circles

The crows are
falling thicker now
like a fire of pencils

They dream
of black plum gall
their feral mission work

I bite my lip
against the world’s
dark mouth

Send Out the Children

The most
overwritten things
like how you feel
about dying alone
under a bedspread
of handwritten dark
these things get that way
because it’s better
to spread it on thick
than to run out

Like how King Saul
told David, if you want
to marry my daughter
you must bring me
the foreskins of one
hundred Philistines
& this was after
David killed Goliath
with a slingshot
made of goatskin

Sending children
to do the impossible
because we fear
the inevitable is how
will turns into fate

Kung Fu Blues Master

An easel begs me
for rain chalk

Scorpions don’t
live here, I say

Should I
bring you inside?

Rain chalk. I asked
for rain chalk, it says

And you should make
your poems less irritable

You don’t like a prophet of birds?
An idiot wind?

Try for more grassfire
less piston and steam

The smell of cooking
in a badly washed pan?


I stole that line